Did you guys know that Whole Foods launched a Beauty Bag on Friday?! It’s filled with a ton of all natural beauty products and is only $19. (total retail value of $90) The products come in a super cute organic cotton bag that I will get absolutely getting a lot of use out of.

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Andalou Natural Apricot Probiotic Cleansing Milk | 1.7 oz

The gentle formula removes makeup while fruit stem cells and probiotics work toward brightening the complexion’s appearance.

Weleda Soothing Facial Lotion | .23 oz

Restore moisture balance after cleansing with a lightweight, sweet almond oil-based lotion.

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive | .26 oz

Organic green apple juice provides alpha-hydroxy acids to exfoliate and even skin tone and texture while vitamin E and organic aloe provide nourishment and hydration.

Dr. Hauschka Facial Toner | 1 oz

A balancing and hydrating formula to support skin’s natural processes and leave skin looking toned and radiant.

Acure Pore Clarifying Red Clay Facial Mask | 1.7 oz

Moroccan red clay and argan stem cells combine to draw out impurities, hydrate and tone for a glowing complexion.

evanhealy Wild Carrot Nourishing Eye Balm | .5 oz

Smooth and protect delicate skin around the eyes with organic cocoa butter and organic sunflower, avocado, rosehip and coconut oils.

Trilogy CoQ10 Booster Oil | .17 oz

A potent and moisturizing blend of plant oils and antioxidants nourish, recharge and revitalize skin.

Whole Foods Market Dry Skin Hand Cream Peony, Mint & Blackberry | 1 oz

Nourishing, super-moisturizing hand cream featuring argan oil and made with 20% shea butter to soothe dry, cracked hands.

Mineral Fusion Volumizing Mascara Jet | .57 oz

Gentle mineral-color formula applies easily and defines each lash without clumps, flakes or smudges.

DERMA E Hydrating Night Cream | .5 oz

Deeply penetrating, rich and ultra-hydrating moisture with antioxidants, vitamins C and E, plus hyaluronic acid to improve skin’s appearance.

Pacifica Devocean Lipstick Tenderness | .07 ozPiece & Co. Organic Cotton Bag

Creamy, hydrating formula for moisturized lips in Tenderness, a semi-matte, highly pigmented rosy taupe.

Piece & Co. Organic Cotton Bag

Piece & Co. empowers skilled artisans to create traditional textiles of exceptional quality and beauty — providing employment for thousands of women and positively impacting communities and children worldwide, piece by piece. This beauty bag was handcrafted by talented artisans in India using organic cotton and traditional techniques of dabu indigo mud-printing, power loom weaving and hand-tasseling.

Bags are only available while supplies last. Make sure to call ahead to your local store to confirm that they have the bags.

I’m in a few awesome female travel groups on Facebook. Everyday I see posts that start off something like this “I want to travel full time, what job should I apply for?” In theory, how amazing does that sound? There’s a ton of ways to become a digital nomad but unfortunately, that doesn’t work for all of us. The average American has a full time, 9-5’ish, job/career that gives them 10 vacation days a year. YUP, that’s it.

I get asked pretty frequently how do I travel so much and that I must get a lot of vacation days at my job. WRONG! I too only have 10 vacation days a year. The difference is how I use them to my advantage to maximize my time away.

To all my NON digital nomads, here’s a few tips to help you make the most of your vacation days this year.

1. Go on short & extended weekend trips. – Yes, a 2 week vacation sounds luxurious but when you have ONLY 10 days per year, do you really want to use them all at once? Look into destinations that are only a few hours away, either by car or plane. You can leave Thursday night which will guarantee 2 full days at the destination of your choice before heading back home on Sunday. Planning this way will allow you to go away 10 times throughout the year, only taking 1 vacation day each trip. If you need a little more time, leave Wednesday night and that will give you 3 full days at the destination of your choice and a total of 5 trips for the year. If you live on the East Coast like me, that can mean a trip to Europe!

2. Plan around a holiday. – This goes hand in hand with the advice above. Planning a trip around a holiday weekend will help you extend that 2 or 3 day trip by a full day but without using a vacation day. For example, Memorial Day always falls on a Monday. Head out of town Wednesday evening and return Monday and you’ll have a nice little 4 night trip.

3. Take advantage of 2 weekends for a longer trip. – Some people just don’t like short trips and that is understandable. A good tip to have a longer vacation, while only using 5 of your vacation days, would be to plan a trip between two weekends. Catch a flight after work on Friday and return the following weekend on a Sunday. That sounds like a perfect 8 day / 7 night getaway to me! Plan this around a holiday weekend and you will only use 4 of your vacation days.

4. Ask for unpaid time off – Ok, so technically asking for this won’t literally maximize your accrued vacation days but rather extend whatever trip you want to take that you might not have enough vacation days for. I know for me this year, all of my vacation time will be used up by the first week of September and a little winter get away will absolutely be on my mind before Christmas time. What I can do is just get approval from my boss to take 2 days off, unpaid, and make a short weekend trip to the islands.

I think the main thing to remember is that if you genuinely love to travel, going somewhere for a few days is better than never getting to experience that place at all. So many of us tend to make bucket lists of things we want to do and see but then never execute those plans because we are so tied up with work. Last year a study came out that said over 50% of Americans don’t use all of their paid vacation time. The main reasons being fear of losing their job, falling behind while away or simply thinking that by not missing a day of work – it would lead to a promotion. I want to tell all of those people to RETHINK their lack of vacation. Taking time off can help your mental health, stress and overall productivity. 

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Whiter teeth….. I mean, everyone wants that right?
I know I did. My smile is far from perfect and I’m okay with that but I wasn’t ok with my coffee stained teeth. The yellowing and dulling of teeth is an issue that many people face and are unhappy with, but never seem to actually take the right steps to correct it. That is why I was so excited when I got the chance to partner with Smile Brilliant.

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Smile Brilliant is an at home teeth whitening kit. Once you place your order, your kit is shipped within 24 hours. In the kit you will recieve everything you need to make your impressions. To be honest – I was nervous about this part… but it was easy breezy! You create your dental impressions, complete a consent card and send them back to the company. The dental lab then creates your custom-fitted whitening trays! The tray creation process ONLY takes 3-6 business days to complete and then they are mailed back to you.

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When my custom-fitted trays arrived I was anxious to get the whole process started. As you can see above, the kit comes with your teeth whitening gel and I also got the desensitizing gel since I have sensitive teeth. They say you can wear the trays anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours, it all depends on how comfortable the process is for you. I snapped a picture on Day 1 before using the trays and then again at Day 10 – just so you can see what results I experienced in less than 2 weeks of use. I used the trays every night, for 10 nights, for 1 hour each time. I felt no sensitivity to my gums what so ever which was a plus.

Here’s a look at my Before / After:

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What do you guys think?? I am so happy with the results and have continued to use the trays and am almost at the shade I would like to achieve. I have had people notice also which feels so great.

Backed by decades of research and built by hygienists & dental professionals – Smile Brilliant is definitely the way to go when it comes to at home teeth whitening! Make sure to check out their site where kits start at only $129 – you would easily spend over $600 for this treatment at the dentist.

Thanks to Smile Brilliant, one of my readers will win their very own kit!!!

smilebrilliant-system-largeTo enter, just click HERE! Good Luck 🙂

If you’re interested in just purchasing a kit directly from their site, enter code: pearlsandparis5 at checkout for a small discount.


Teeth Whitening

This is Vice Liquid Lipstick—a waterproof formula so life-proof, it’s not going ANYWHERE until you take it off. (Just imagine the possibilities.) What makes Vice different? Their high-tech formula provides longer-lasting wear with ZERO transfer. Like the original formula, Vice Liquid Lipstick lays down intensely pigmented color. And the comfortable, nondrying wear sets it apart from other liquid lipsticks. Best of all – you get to choose from a huge range of 30 shades and two finishes—comfort matte and metabolized.

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Left to Right: Tilt, Brat, Menace, Twitch & 1993.

On September 16th – Victor turned ONE! Like every other baby his age – he absolutely loves Mickey so we knew right away that we had to have a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme. Luckily for us, my mom is a DIY wizard and we have a pretty awesome backyard that is perfect for parties. Having a party at your home and making the decorations yourself doesn’t save time but it does save money, and I consider that a win.

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I was obsessed with Victor’s outfit for his big day. I purchased his custom onesie from a shop on Etsy, which you can find HERE, and paired it with black denim shorts that had suspenders (which is why I customized his shirt to eliminate the printed suspenders you see in the link above) and some super cool black and red Jordans.

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As far as decor, I created his name in wooden blocks and decorated them in Mickey colors. Thanks to THIS video, it was super easy to create. I purchased white wooden blocks from Michaels Craft Store as well as red and black paint and buttons.

1: I taped the middle of each block. I started with painting the red bottom on each letter.

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2: The next day, when dry – I painted the top of all of the blocks in black. IMG_4331

3: Once dry, I removed the tape – and painted the empty space with red and cleaned up the lines. I then added the buttons. IMG_4333IMG_4512

 I was sooooo happy with how they came out!

For the outside decor, my mom did all of the balloon art, including the awesome arch. My mother is super talented when it comes to party planning and decorations. We also purchased a few things from Party City and Amazon and it all came together perfectly. We had 2 inflatables and also hired a Mickey Mouse who did balloon art for the kiddies and also brought with him a photobooth – which was a HUGE hit with the adults. The cake was from Shoprite and our local one does amazing artwork so we were really happy with how it came out and as usual, it tasted delicious!

Overall, it was a perfect day! I always appreciate when people make time to attend the special parties we host and Victor’s 1st Birthday was an important one for us so we are really thankful for all of our Family and Friends who made it. Victor had a blast and someone (cough: Pop Pop) even snuck him a lollipop at the end! 🙂 Here are some pictures of his big day!

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